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Don’t Let Fear Tell You That You Can’t – Bron Stange –  Australia

Who are you?

I’m the founder of Bopo Women, Bron Stange a natural body-positive, feminist skincare brand. I’m also a former law student, eating disorder survivor, proud Aquarian, feminist, coffee addict and mum to the best dog that’s ever lived, my Cavoodle Nala. I’m also deeply passionate about the power that conscious business and spending has to change the world and love nothing more than seeing people do the work they were put on this earth to do.

What is your business?

Bopo Women is a natural body-positive, feminist skincare brand taking on the beauty industry with products that encourage self-care, self-love and feeling good in your skin. Our products have been created with therapeutic experience at the forefront and have been crafted to help women cultivate self-love and self-care rituals in their lives.

How long have you been in business?

Since September 2017.

Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?

Being a business owner has been a completely unexpected, yet utterly magical, twist of fate in my life. To me, being a business owner means having a powerful tool to change the world and create new ways of relating to each other and ourselves. I became an entrepreneur as a result of my own painful experience with an eating disorder and wanting to do something to help women love our bodies. Creating feminist, body positive skincare was my way of changing the beauty industry and it’s harmful messaging from the inside.

Who has been your greatest influence in business and personal life and why?

I think the greatest influence in my business life so far has been Julie Parker of Beautiful You Coaching Academy and the Priestess Podcast. I admire so much how she’s created a beautifully aligned, authentic and social conscious business and platform and continues to constantly learn and evolve with absolute transparency and vulnerability. In my personal life, I don’t feel like I’m influenced by anyone in particular and am more inspired by all of the incredible women I meet bravely creating businesses and lives that are truly aligned with who they are.

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

Launching a skincare business with no experience in the industry and just a vision and determination. Just starting and seeing it all come to life has been incredible! Leaving behind a potential corporate law career and instead leaping into what my heart wanted to create is definitely the thing I’m most proud of so far.

What do you do to inspire women?

Through Bopo Women, I help women to question the harmful standards the beauty industry proliferates and reconnect with their bodies. Our products remind them of their own inherent beauty and that they are already enough.

What inspirational qualities do you possess?

This is a hard one! Maybe not caring about conventional wisdom, social norm and rules and just doing my own thing! I think I also have some extraordinary patience levels when it comes to my business thanks to my experience recovering from an eating disorder which really taught me how to sit with the uncomfortable.

Whats your advice for other women that may want to do what you do?

Don’t let fear tell you that you can’t. That you aren’t enough or that you don’t have the right degree, qualification or experience. If you have a vision and you feel really passionate about bringing it to life you can do it. However, I’d also say if you don’t have this kind of passion for your business it may be difficult to find the resilience and inner strength to get through the hard days and weeks. Knowing how much I believe that the world, and women, need Bopo Women, has gotten me through the periods of ambiguity and frustration and I know that belief will continue to do so.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to Inspiring Women Today?

Test everything. Keep trying different angles. Have patience and believe in your vision. Also, nothing is ever as good or as bad as you think. Stay grounded! I’d also say don’t assume that just because something worked for another business it will work for yours. While you can of course always learn from others, sometimes you need to trust your gut and go with what seems right for you and your business that might not align with conventional wisdom.

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

Walks in nature and by the sea, drink tequila, find new amazing coffee places, yoga, shamefully binge watch reality tv, read about astrology and learn tarot, listen to podcasts, dream up new business ideas and cook delicious food.

What’s the best way for the our Inspiring Women Today members and blog guests to connect with you?

Website:  www.bopowomen.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/bopowomen

I’m a Funny Introverted Vegan! – Heidi Lumsden – Australia

Who are you?

Hello! My name is Heidi, I’m a funny introverted vegan, empath who is 29 years young. I’m a Gemini, a photographer and homeschooling Mum of two, Melody 6 and Odin 18 months. I have had endometriosis, I’m engaged to be married to my aspergers partner of almost 10 years and we also have two beautiful fur babies. One of whom has cancer. Wow, writing this all down made me realise how badass I am. Everyday I fight for my happiness, my kids happiness, my health, and my (out of the ordinary) life choices. I wouldn’t say it’s ‘easy’ being me but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I was given this life for a reason and I won’t take it for granted.

What is your business?

I am what I like to call an artistic portrait photographer. Basically I turn people into a piece of art they can keep forever.

How long have you been in business?

I started taking photos professionally about 5 years ago when my daughter was about 1 year old. I have been a newborn photographer, pet photographer, boudoir, weddings, events, couples, family – you name it. Now I like to focus on artistic portraits, it’s where I can really let my creativity loose. I do still offer wedding and event photography but I’ve trained my partner to tackle those for me. He takes the photos and I edit them.

Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?

To be honest, it just kind of happened. I had been into photography for a small amount of time before I was gifted my first camera. That camera got me through some hard times. I choose to be a business owner now because of the flexibility. I can homeschool my children during the day while taking photos on the weekend and editing at night. It also gives me something that’s just for me that I enjoy, my art.

Who has been your greatest influence in business and personal life and why?

Lauren Bath. She was the very first travel photographer and influencer on instagram. She has inspired me the whole way. I still remember how I was so excited to meet her and how much I looked up to her and now she tells me how much she loves my photos and how I could teach her about portraits. She’s pretty amazing.

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

Being chosen as the photographer for Garage Ink Manor by Teneile Napoli who is a famous tattoo artist and another woman I look up to and admire. I was also given some amazing news that I can’t quite share yet.

What do you do to inspire women?

I’m not sure.

What inspirational qualities do you possess?

The fact that despite my chronic disease I never give up.

Whats your advice for other women that may want to do what you do?

Pick up the camera, take photos every day. Keep trying and know your worth.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to Inspiring Women Today?

Do your taxes.

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

Take photos, no seriously I love it. Spend quality time with my family, watch a Netflix series with my partner.

What’s the best way for the our Inspiring Women Today members and blog guests to connect with you?

You can find me on Instagram: www.instagram.com/adelhide_

Divorce is the end of the relationship, not the end of life – Revathi Mohan – India

 


I was born in a highly conservative family in a town called Tiruchengode (Tamilnadu, India). Like most of the girls in my community, I completed my Masters with Distinction. And of-course, it is a symbol of esteem to complete an Engineering Degree or a Master Degree – Strictly ‘No’ to the job.

Till then life for me was one and only my family, to get a good name to my family members – that too based on the subject score and the words from my teacher. Those days girls will not be appreciated and encouraged much if they achieved something other than academics. After 2 years of groom hunt – with the approval from the astrologer and the groom’s first circle (no doubt, to approach the people who only gave positive words about the guy just because astrologer gave positive remarks), I got married. It didn’t last even for 10 days.

I was born in a social circle where good girls must tolerate all the non-sense attitude of the groom’s house. Even though they disrespect us to the core out of insecurity and low self-esteem.  He verbally abused me. Within a week of marriage, tortured me to the core and also said, this is your final day – threatened me to get ready with the suicide note. I was petrified. I realized, his intention behind this marriage is not to live a happy life with me. I was shattered. I heard the worst statement I ever hear in my life- ‘Why do you smile at guest – are you trying to flatter them’ – so far I heard ‘Smile’ is the basic respect we give to the other human being. I was not allowed to talk with neither the guest nor anyone at his home.

I tried my best to make my parents to realize his attitude. I was clueless what I am going to do next. I am okay to go with the flow.  I took a decision and discussed with my family members that, I don’t deserve to live this kind of life, no matter what- I just want to come out of this.

The impact they left in 10 days remained for 3 years in my life- I was on medication for a year and therapy for couple of years.

I experienced the definition of Depression.

I was ashamed to meet my loved ones- It reminded their toxic words not to talk with anyone.

I used to cry for no reason when I see for paper and pen – that reminds he compelled me to write a suicide note

I got to fear for my favourite food and restaurant  – since he said he mix poison in that

I got fear to travel – since he tried to crash the car which my father complimented for my wedding just because I was not ready to write suicide note.

My hands shivered like anything. I just wake up in the mid of night and cried for no reason.  I could not hold a glass full of water to drink. I was scared of everything – even to cross the road without a companion was a biggest achievement.

Then I took a decision – I don’t want to give any reason to anyone to follow my instinct. All I could feel is , ”I don’t deserve to live this kind of worst life”

2013- I got married and applied for divorce.

Then I joined in college studied full time Masters in counselling Psychology.

It was absolute pain to sit in the classroom and listen how to handle the pain.  There are days I run out of the class and cry for no reason.

There are days I was unable to focus on any therapy.

I got absolutely very good friends during my college days who hug me everyday and say I am perfect

On 2013 my birthday I was a depressed patient in a hospital and at 2014 I was a psychologist intern at a hospital. I found a Year can do a lot to a person based on the choice they made.

I passed out in the year 2015 and I was the first student who got placed in my department

Placed at an reputed Engineering College as the first CounsellingPsychologist.

Yes, the two gentle men created a job for me.

2016-   Quit my job and started travelling just to explore about people and lifestyle.

Interviewed amazing personalities right from Mrs.India, Padma Bhushan Awardee( highest civilian award in India) Member of Parliament, Lawyers, Educational Institute Founder, Students, Spiritual Gurus , Road side sellers etc

Found the answer for ‘what matters the most and where the real happiness is’

2017-   I started to write snippets and blogs , then I wrote a book about parenting ‘ The Smile Syrup’

Now, Revathi, The Author – ‘The Smile Syrup’

Am sure now I am the reason behind the Smile of Millions

And now my parents are proud of me for the difference I am making in people’s life. Talking with strangers – listening to their problems- giving a clarity in their life and making an impact is a bliss. And it takes years and so many hardships to realise this thing.

I hate people call me victim or survivor. I don’t want people to pity me and I don’t want to play a safe victim game. I always want to be a person who tries hard to get what I deserve.

I realised it is my responsibility to change my identity. Of course yes, the person who could save me is only me. The choices I consider and the decision I chose matters a lot. Even though, my father is financially and socially secured I haven’t experienced this kind of bliss even before.

What I am now today is because of the kind of people I chose to be with  and the kind of life, I want to live and to the kind of person I wish to make the positive impact . I do counselling and make people really okay with my presence. I am happy and feel content that I make difference in their lives. Life is once, nobody deserves to live an unhappy life.

I realize, not all the men are cruel. I was compelled by someone to write a suicide note and I was inspired by someone to write my book ‘The Smile Syrup’.

2018-  I framed my own module and started a story telling session  for parents.

It’s my prudence and persistence makes me to reach the place where I am today.

One life changing statement in my life,

IF YOU DIDN’T GO BEHIND WHAT YOU WANT YOU NEVER GET WHAT YOU DESERVE.

Now I am proud to say, if you know me a year back – I say, ‘ sorry that’s not me- everyyear my growth is  strong and allow me to re-introduce myself’.

My name is Ana Gonzalez, a burn Survivor of over 20 years – Ana Gonzalez – Florida USA

My name is Ana Gonzalez, a burn Survivor of over 20 years, known as a beautiful soul. I want to inspire a lot of people to never give up no matter what the circumstances maybe. I was born in Bogota Colombia, New Year’s Eve of 1993, I was spending the night with my mother and sister at the house. My curiosity lead me to the kitchen, where one of the renters was cooking. She was pouring gasoline into a propane stove, she left the valves open. The stove ignited. She threw it and it landed right in front of me and I caught on fire. At that moment, I was unaware of what was happening to me. However, there was my angel, my mom, racing to save my life by putting out the fire with her bare hands. I was rushed to the nearest hospital and diagnosed with a third degree burn over 60% of my body. I was in an induced coma for about 2 weeks. The doctors kept telling my mom I was not going to make it . She was not a Believer at that time but she said God I know you are real please save my daughter. And God answered her prayer.

I was able to be transferred to Shriners Hospital for Children in Galveston Texas in 1994. My treatment continued in Tampa Florida from age 8 until 18. My life has never been easy but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m grateful and thankful for everything that I have experienced because without it I wouldn’t appreciate life as much as I do now.

At the time of writing this I am in search for a full time position apart from becoming part of the workforce once again, I also want to launch my autobiography this year. I was hoping to have a lot more goals achieved by the time I published my first book, but the time has come to share my powerful story with the world. I am also a University of South Florida graduate with a bachelor’s in geography. I also do a guest blog with a friend on her blogger page name whatever Grace means.com . As part of my personality I like to sing and make handmade threaded bracelets and keychains. As any other female I like to do online shopping . My favourite sport is basketball especially the NBA. I have also found a special app. The most important thing in my life is my relationship with Jesus Christ. Family and friends may come and go, but the Lord will always be by your side no matter what. I love social media as a millennial and I tweet Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, text message email Google Plus can use other mobile apps as the bank , on online Mercari.

Thank you for taking this opportunity to get to know me just a little bit more. I hope my upcoming autobiography will be of a powerful impact to each and everyone of you .

Mum Life – Work, Kids & Every In Between – Leanne Fuller – Australia

How did I come to work from home?

It is always an interesting journey when you become a mother and know that there is something more to life than working around the clock and trading time for money.

Naturally after the birth of my first daughter I looked for opportunities to work from home – I aligned with a network marketing company but I soon found that it wasn’t my true passion and within 5 months of Evie’s birth I had returned back to the workforce.

My personal life and career collided at lightning speed with the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s in my mother. I thought I had it all worked out with having my mum and sister looking after Evie while I went back to work. I felt torn working for money and in my career or giving up that freedom and flexibility to become a stay at home mum.

I tried unsuccessfully I might add at the time to be at home working a business I wasn’t truly passionate about and all the of demands of being a mum, sister and daughter. My mental health began to suffer and I felt like my identity was being stripped away. I was flailing around in every aspect of my life.

Soon after I returned back to nursing in hospitals and working night shift so that I could make money and still care for my daughter. This also naturally took a toll and we made a decision to send Evie to daycare. I got back into the groove and we found out we were expecting Audrey.

I worked up until 37.5 weeks pregnant because financially we needed the support of the money I was able to bring in.

Post pregnancy the days and nights blurred into one – but I knew importantly I didn’t want to repeat the history of my first post partum journey. I wanted to take control of my health – physically, mentally and financially. I lacked energy, ate almost everything I could get my hands on and lived off caffeine and sugar. I wasn’t turning up as the Mum or wife I wanted to be.

5 weeks after Audrey was born I contacted a good friend and asked her what she was doing.I had watched her journey for the best part of 2 years but knew I wanted a health solution.

So I started the cellular cleanse program I now can’t go a day without putting into my body. Within a week I had energy to burn, my body recalibrated from craving junk and processed foods I even went 21 days without a coffee.For anyone who knew me this was a miracle in itself. I started to sleep better and so did my baby.

It wasn’t just the physical transformation but the group of people who surrounded me – my sense of purpose soared.I was surrounded by positive and like minded people who pushed me to be the best version of myself and spiritually I also became a better person. I started to have faith and pray to God. On a personal level life was definitely not easy at the time post birth of Audrey and I am forever thankful for saying yes to putting myself first.

Naturally when I started to gain results I wanted to look at the business opportunity and knew that I was aligning with a company and products that I am truly passionate about.

I have a well balanced lifestyle with working my home business, spending quality time with my loved ones and have resumed nursing one day a week whilst I build up my business and a legacy I can be proud of developing for my children and generations to come.

About the Author

I am a Melbourne mum of 2 girls Evie 3 years,Audrey 7 months old and a stepson Dom who is 11.

I have always had a passion for caring for people and health and wellness. So it was natural for me to be drawn to my calling as a registered nurse in busy hospitals around Melbourne specialising in Emergency and Intensive Care.

However as with most careers although flexibility has always been an option it came at a cost to spending time with my children and husband.

You can contact Leanne on email at leannemh@hotmail.com or visit her FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/leannefullerhealthandwellnesscoach/

 

Making My Dreams A Reality – Britney Foltz – Nebraska USA

I am a busy mom to three boys ages 6, 3, and 1. Also a Registered Nurse and worked in Labor & Delivery for 8 years.  I loved my job and knew that is where I wanted to be as a nurse, but something was missing.  I worked nights, holidays, and weekends, and dreaded being away.  I was missing putting my kids to bed at night and our routine.  I was missing the little moments, the first time they crawled, first words, and so much more.  I wanted to be fully present.  That’s when I realized my dream job was to be a stay at home mommy. I didn’t want to miss any more moments, not to mention night shift can really begin to wear on you.   It was when I was on maternity leave with my third boy that I realized something had to change.  I knew that in order for me to stay home full time we needed another form of income.  We looked into clinic jobs and more day time nursing jobs.  All required a pay cut, insurance changes, and added daycare expenses.

Then a lightbulb turned on.  I needed something I could do from home, that didn’t require me to leave.  Scrolling through facebook I often saw posts about Rodan + Fields.  I had never personally tried the products, but had family members that had and it transfomred their skin.  I knew the products were legit, and the more I learned about the company I fell in love.  After discussing it with my husband I decided to jump in with both feet.  I had nothing to lose. There was no risk to join as the business came with a 60 day money back guarantee.  I hit the ground running and I immediately fell in love with the products and wanted to share them with everyone.

A year and a half in the business I have replaced my full-time nursing income and am able to follow my dreams and be a stay at home mommy, and still contribute to my family financially.  I don’t have to leave to go to work, everything is run on my smart phone or computer.

This opportunity is definitely changing our life, and now I am a leading a team of amazing motivated women to help them fullfill their dreams and change their future.  I have learned this truly is so much more than skincare and extra income.  It has allowed me to find an identity and find something for me as a stay at home mommy. It allows me to do things I never thought I could do and completely step out of my comfort zone.  I have met so many wonderful women and made new friends that I’ll have for a lifetime.  I am thankful I took a leap of faith and tried something new.  Something I never dreamed would be the vehicle to allow me to stay home with my boys.

And now I’ll never miss another moment, as time goes too fast, and they are only little once.

Britney Foltz

Email:  Britney her bjreich14@hotmail.com

Level V Executive Consultant – Rodan + Fields USA 

I am African, I am a girl – Ngwa Damaris Ngum – Africa

I was one with the world until race separated me from the rest of the world. Race is a group of people with common genetic features such as physical traits. Races arise from the need for nature to express human existence in diverse groups, in order to make life more colorful and beautiful. Unfortunately, society has used it to sow seeds of discord and separation. Just because I am black, you are white, she is yellow, does not make us different. It just signifies various facets of the same fundamental human essence.

I was one with the world until borders separated me from the rest of the world. Borders are artificial lines that separate geographic areas. Borders were created as a means of easily managing humans or social groups but society has used as a dividing criteria of people and societies. Borders have become a source of conflict instead of a means to preserve order and peace. Countries fight each other because they feel they are different. That I am from Africa and you are from Europe, Asia, and America does not make me different from you.

I was one with the world until religion separated me from the rest of the world. Religion is just a particular system of faith, belief and worship. Religious groups’ fight each other and the religious leaders watch and do very little or nothing to bring peace. They engage in trying to show the supremacy of their various religions over other religions. Religion which was supposed to be the most loving and harmonizing platform has now become a major perpetrator of hatred and conflict. That I am Christian and you are Muslim, Hindu, Budhist, etc does not make me different from you.

I was one with the world until language separated me from the rest of the world. Languages are just a system of communication among people. They are not meant to separate us. That I speak English and you speak French, German, Chinese does not make me different from you.

I was one with the world until currencies separated me from the rest of the world. Currency is just a system of money or medium of exchange in general used in a particular area. It should not be an instrument of division among humans. That I use the Francs CFA and you use the Naira, Pound sterling, Dollar, Euro  does not make me different from you.

I was one with the world until wealth separated me from the rest of the world. Wealth is just an abundance of material valuable possessions or money. I should not be treated badly because I am poor and you treated nicely because you are rich. That I have a thousand francs and you have one million francs does not make me different from you.

I was one with the world until politics separated me from the rest of the world. Politics is just a set of activities associated with the governance of an area or the use of mandated and consultative power and authority to foster the interest, values and ideals of a community such as a country. It is meant to assist in building a nation and not a tool for division within a nation. That I am a democrat and you are an autocrat does not make me different from you.

I was one with the world until education separated me from the rest of the world. Education is just a process of acquiring knowledge to better ones’ environment. Education is supposed to be a means for us to develop and mobilize our individual and collective strengths, and not a medium for division and hostility. That I pursued formal education and you pursued informal education does not make us different. That I have a Bachelor’s degree and you have a Doctorate Degree does not make us different.

I was one with the world until status separated me from the rest of the world. Status is just a relative social or professional position in society. A man needs a woman and a woman needs a man to make life more comfortable for us therefore I am female and you are male does not make me less inferior to you. A doctor needs a teacher as well as a teacher needs a doctor. A soldier needs a civilian as well as a civilian needs a soldier. A president needs his citizens as well as the citizens needs their president. Different professional and social status make life more comfortable for us all. It does not make us different from each other.

We were all humans, created equal until racism, borders, religion, status, wealth, position, currency, language, education, sex, politics etc brought in division, hate and separation among us. Countries fighting each other, the rise of terrorism and rebel groups, religious wars, civil wars, class distinction as a result of differences in wealth, race and position. Government administrators are ill-treating their own citizens in the form of corruption, embezzlement and human right abuse. All these and more have caused the world not to know peace for decades now with humans having no hope for peace on earth again.

I was born with my mind telling me I was equal to every other  person on earth until society made me know I was black; I therefore should despise whites; I am a Christian and should belittle non-Christians; I am African, I am a girl etc. All these caused me to feel less than others and so hated all those who were different from me. I built ideologies of division and hate for years until “the power of a mother” instilled equality, love, peace and unity in me. She made me know that no human is different or greater than another human on earth. This message is absent in our classrooms, misinterpreted by our religious leaders and administrators to cause more hate and division. Her message gave me hope. The hope of peace and unity on earth. I am so thankful to my mother for the knowledge she has imparted in me. At this time when the world is in need for peace, unity and equality, advocates like her cannot not be left unnoticed. She has put her message deep in me and keeps reminding me that we are the peace, unity and equality the world needs and looks up to.

Today I stand as one of the world’s peace, unity and equality advocates in my little corner of the earth because of the power of one woman, the power of a mother. I learned that for peace to reign I must have love and compassion for myself and everyone around me; never allow anyone make me feel like nobody; respect every human being, face the bullies and  lift up the down-casted in society while doing these things I should never ever give up. Now my compassion is not restricted by any social barrier; it is for the entire world. I am not limited by any particular religion, caste or creed. I see all humanity as one, and I am out to serve humanity at large. I am a testimony of how the voice of one woman; a mother changed me so I am calling on every other woman/mother to join the train in singing this song of peace to their children and later generations thereby getting to be peace advocates like myself. Females are always made to keep their voices silent but let mothers not silent their voices. Let us raise our voices to bring forth a generation of peace makers. Our time on earth is short therefore we have to make the later generations live in a world full of peace, unity and equality by acting now and accelerating the multiplier effect of peace.

 

About the Author

I am Ngwa Damaris Ngum, a female of Cameroonian nationality living in the North West region of Cameroon. I have a BSc in Economics from the University of Buea.

With regards to the current global crisis: natural disasters, climate change, rising inequalities, human rights abuses, escalating conflicts, increase disease occurrences, pressure on resources, environmental degradation etc . I originate from one of the two English speaking regions of my country who were being marginalized and has led to retaliation and civil unrest since October 2016.No challenge is without solution so I am currently setting up a “PEACE AND GREEN” village initiative to help people out of these global challenges. My vision is to see that we live in peace and serenity. I will love for every woman to be part of my peace building committee.

The PEACE aspect will consist of a group of individuals who will live together in peace, no tribalism, no racism, no greed, no religious difference etc. WE are a group of individuals who will set the pace and spread the information of peace, unity and equality.

The GREEN aspect will be to encourage a green diet and a green life style. This is to reduce the adverse effects of animal farms/animal products on the climate and our health.

email: Princessdama88@yahoo.com

Tel: +237 677519677

 

A Survivors Lesson on Resilience – Ria Story – USA

At 12 years old, the secret that I carried around with me was ugly, dark, and dirty. I was too ashamed to tell anyone my father would wait until we were at home alone and then he would make me dress up so he could take pictures of me. He would tell me that it wasn’t a sin because God had given me to him. He told me that no one else would understand.

It progressed as I got older. By the time I was 17 he was regularly having sex with me and would bargain with me for sexual favours in return for something like an outing with my friends. He said he wanted to give me an ultimate experience in life. An ultimate experience meant lots of things. One time it meant taking nude pictures of me riding my horse. One time it meant tying me up naked, putting a gag in my mouth, and beating me with a riding crop until I was black and blue.  One time it meant watching another man have sex with me. And, then they changed places. Life was almost not worth living – and I considered a razor blade and a tub of warm water to end it.

At 19, I met a knight in a shiny Camaro who helped me escape. I left home soon after meeting him, leaving behind the father who abused me and the mother who blamed me for it. I didn’t have a job, a car, or even a high school diploma. I had a few pillow cases stuffed with clothes, no money, and few options. After I left, I built a wall around what happened to me. To survive, I locked my past up tight behind that wall and threw away the key.

But, it’s not what happens to us in life that’s most important. It’s who we become because of it.

I started my career working as a waitress in a pizza restaurant. I was waiting tables and picking up the half eaten leftover pizza crusts off the floor for $2.13 an hour plus any tips the lunch buffet customers chose to leave. There’s nothing wrong with that. It was good work, and I was glad to get it. But, it didn’t take long to realise I didn’t want to stay there the rest of my life. I set my goals high and started working to achieve them. I worked my way through college and up through the ranks. At times, I was working two jobs and going to school full time. It took me ten years to graduate with my MBA. But, I did it, and I maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout my college career.

I had a very successful career in the healthcare field, spending several years in upper management, including working as the Director of Compliance and Regulatory Affairs for a large healthcare organisation.

In 2013 at a conference, I heard motivational speaker Les Brown say, “You have a story to tell and someone needs to hear your story.” I knew I had a story. I just didn’t want to tell it. I wasn’t sure I could. For more than 20 years the bonds of shame, fear, and pain had kept me silent.

Mark Twain said, “The two greatest days in your life are the day you are born and the day you discover why.” On August 14, 2013, I found my “why” and shared my story publicly for the first time.

We all experience pain, grief and loss at some point in life. Resilience is learning not just to survive, but thrive. Resilience is rising from the ashes of what happens to us in life and becoming more brilliant because of the flames. Resilience is the difference between “I didn’t die” and “I learned to live again.”

We can’t always control what happens in life but we can control what we think, feel, and what we do about what happens in life. As Viktor Frankl said, “When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

Overcoming adversity in life is a journey. And, if a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, don’t just take the first step and stop. Take a step forward each and every day. It’s important to move forward consistently and it’s important to realise joy comes from within, regardless of our situation. Joy is not a product of our circumstances, it’s a choice we make.

I left my corporate career in 2014 to pursue my calling full time. 10 books, a TEDx talk, and several years later, I work with organisations and individuals who want to develop resilience and increase influence in life and leadership.

I don’t share my story so anyone will feel sorry for me. I share my story so everyone can say, “If she can do it, I can do it.” We can take what life hands us and be bitter about it or better because of it. Your life story isn’t about what happens to you. It’s about what you do and who you become from that moment on. What matters is the rest of your story.

About the Author

Like many, Ria faced adversity in life. Raised on an isolated farm in Alabama, she was sexually abused by her father from age 12 – 19. Desperate to escape, she left home at 19 without a job, a car, or even a high school diploma. Ria learned to be resilient, not only surviving, but thriving. She worked her way through college, earning her MBA with a cumulative 4.0 GPA, and had a successful career in the corporate world of administrative healthcare.

Ria’s background includes more than 10 years in administrative healthcare with several years in management including Director of Compliance and Regulatory Affairs for a large healthcare organisation. Ria’s responsibilities included oversight of thousands of organisational policies, organisational compliance with all State and Federal regulations, and responsibility for several million dollars in Medicare appeals.

Today, Ria is a resilience and leadership speaker and author of 10 books. Ria was selected three times to speak on stage at International John Maxwell Certification Events. Motivational speaker Les Brown also invited Ria to share the stage with him in Los Angeles, CA. Ria and her husband, Mack Story, co-founded Top Story Leadership. Ria works with organisations who want to develop resilience and increase influence in life and leadership.

Get in touch:

Email: ria@riastory.com

Website: RiaStory.com

LinkedIn: LinkedIn.com/In/RiaStory

Twitter: @Ria_Story

Instagram: Ria.Story

Born into drug and alcohol abuse, Kylie’s story – Kylie Stretton – Australia

I was born into a family of mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, dysfunctional and unhealthy relationships. Spent most of primary school in and out of hospital and when I did go to school I was bullied all the way through primary and high school. I couldn’t talk until I was 7 and read and write fully until 19.

At 17 I got involved in a domestic violent, drug and alcohol abusive relationship. At 18 I found myself in a girl’s shelter with nowhere to go and I picked up my first book I have ever read, and it was a self-help book about being happy I struggled to get through it, but it got me to start thinking different.

At 19 I was pregnant for the 4th time but this was going to be my first-born baby. While pregnant I became a consultant with a massive beauty company. Two weeks before my baby was born I went to a massive conference where my Regional Director gave an amazing and inspirational speech on stage sharing her story about leaving domestic violence, being a single mother of 4 children and her career success. It was the first time I have ever heard anyone speak on stage and it was the first time I heard someone else’s story. In that moment I thought to myself if she can do it I can do it to. I made a decision and a commitment in that moment that I was going to break the cycle and go down a totally different path to the rest of my family.

Two weeks later my baby boy was born on my regional director’s birthday. When they put him in my arms I looked into his eyes and made a promise to him out loud that I was going to be the best mother I could possibly be and that I was going to give him a way better childhood then I had. I took him home to the domestic violence, drug and alcohol abusive household for 13 months. The things that happened to him and what he saw was horrible and all while this was going on I lost contact with the Regional Director, as being a first time mum I threw in beauty consulting.

I kept reading self-help books and when my son was 10 months old I wrote out a list of everything I wanted in a boyfriend 2 months later I met an amazing, caring, kind, supportive, loving man that was everything on that list and more. When my son was 13 months we packed up our basic belongings and made a run for it staying at friends houses and a woman’s shelter until we got a place of our own.

I was so happy I had never had someone in my life that loved me for me, believed in me and my dreams, cared about me, could talk to for hours on end. I was treated like a princess every day and he took my son on like his own. However, I wasn’t use to loving relationships and had no idea how to love back. I spent years running away, being depressed and cutting myself even though I had the man of my dreams. So, I knew to give my son the best mummy and life and to keep this amazing relationship with my boyfriend I had to change. I worked really hard on myself reading self help books every spare minute I got and attending any workshops, seminars or courses that I heard of and I got myself a life coach after 7 years of counselling.

At 25 I got engaged and had our first baby together my second born and he was born with Phenylketonuria (P.K.U.) where his body cannot break down protein so is on a very restricted diet of NO Meat, Dairy, Nuts, Eggs, Legumes, Artificial Sweeteners or Diet Products, 6 months later I fell pregnant again. At 21 weeks pregnant I started my Life Coaching Certificate at 32 weeks my third baby boy our second baby together was born not breathing for 15 minutes. My third baby cried 24 hours a day every day, did not sleep at all and not meeting any of his milestones. At 10 months old we received his diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy (Spastic Quadriplegia) and were told he will never ever walk or talk, he will just be a vegetable put him in a home and forget about him. When he was 2 his baby sister was born, and I tore my cervix 6 & 1/2 cms and was left in a hospital bed for 4 hours to bleed out. My life was saved in just enough time.

Six months later I married the man of my dreams, graduated with my Life Coaching Certificate and then I started my NLP Practitioner’s studies. The following year I started feeling like there was something I was missing I did everything the book’s said to do, I was a Life Coach and a NLP Practitioner but there were still roadblocks in my path and there was just a missing link I knew there was. We raised $40,000 in 6 months that year to get our son over to America for 3 weeks of intense therapy and that year ended with my brother’s suicide on boxing day.

I reconnected with my ex Regional Director a couple of months beforehand and attending her launch 11 days after my brother’s funeral and signed up to all her courses where I had my massive transformation where I broke all generational cycles once and for all and became a Creatrix® Transformolgist®.

16 months after my brother’s death my granddad died and then 3 months later my dad took his life after being in the mental health ward for 3 months. I started writing my book and 15 Months after my dad’s death my book was published.

I now support the mental and emotional well being of mums of children with special needs, write books, raise a beautiful, loving, caring, close and happy family that has so much fun together. All my dreams have come true. I have created a healthy and functional family that I always wanted, I married the man of my dreams, I write inspirational books, I have a transformational business and I live an amazing, happy, healthy, peaceful, loving, fulfilling life.

About the Author

Kylie Stretton is a loving mother of four beautiful children, devoted wife and loyal friend to many. A pocket rocket of energy, passion and inspiration, Kylie lives her life caring for her children (two of which have disabilities), writing and practicing living a full filled empowered life. Driven to help others in her position, she prides herself on her heightened level of empathy which grew over a lifetime of abuse, neglect and hardship.

A true inspiration to others, Kylie’s primary desire is to help women through her work as a Women’s Empowerment Intervention Consultant, CREATRIX Facilitator, Life Coach, NLP Practitioner and Mentor to all Special Needs Mothers with over 16 years of personal development experience.

Here is a link to her book: http://kyliestretton.com/finding-kylie-the-7-action-steps-to-finding-you/

You are the only one that can control your destiny! – Claire McGrath – London UK

I have got to say I don’t think I am inspiring person. Others may see things differently but I am just me. Being me means that I have these amazing hair brain ideas which later turn into reality. I must say, a lot of my success has come from making something from the moment in time, the right here, right now.

I grew up in a family of 9 kids (was a Brady Bunch) we didn’t have a lot of money because my parents put us all through good schools, they had to work hard and I believe that it where my work ethic has come from. They work hard and they play hard- I fortunately or unfortunately inherited this too!

I was not particularly smart but I had a brother my own age and growing up he challenged me because he was naturally smart, I have always had to work hard to achieve. So, I think that is where my competitive nature began.

I left home at 18 to be a nanny in the UK, I loved it so much that I decided to move here forever, held down a good job, but when I decided to move home because we were expecting a child at the ripe age of 24, our world just about came crashing down. My husband couldn’t get a job due to his Visa, I couldn’t work because of being pregnant and having a baby (no one wanted to employ me not through lack of trying). We decided to move to Brisbane where my parents had a property business that they were happy to employ us in for an interim period.  That is where I fell in love with property.

I was too proud to ask my parents for any more help, but some weeks we would have less than a $1 in our bank account and with baby and another on the way, we found it difficult to make ends meet. Pasta was on the cards most nights! When we had a bit of money we would buy lottery tickets and I tell you we were being looked after. Whenever we won the lowest division which happened a bit, we would hold those tickets over until we only had the $1 in the account and use those to survive to the next pay day. I ran 3 jobs and my husband finally got a job, funny enough with an English company.

I worked looking after my family properties on a very part time basis but decided to do my REIQ certificate and then I researched the best property managers in Brisbane so I could learn the trade. I ended up in New Farm with Harcourts New Farm. I learnt from the best in the industry. There I met Martin Millard which was a turning point really. I had just had a Cancer scare had to have half my Thyroid out and we weren’t getting ahead in life. Martin asked me to join him and Sally in starting a property management business with Harcourts Solutions, I thought this was a great opportunity to really start providing for my family and putting things in place to set us up.

I had never signed up a management agreement and really, I was an assistant property manager, but I thought what have I got to lose! I was so nervous but it has been an amazing business and yes were there low days, absolutely, did I have a cry here and there, yep sure did. However, Sally and I got up every day put our big girls pants on and kept moving. We grew the business from 0-940 in 7/8 years.

4 years ago, my husband I came back to England, the first time in 10 years, we saw an opportunity here to perhaps do a Real Estate business here but differently. Last year was the hardest year in my life, I was sick almost the entire year, I was the fattest I had been in my life and was not happy. It has been 4 years in the making but this year I sadly sold my share of Harcourts Rental Management Solutions back to Sally and Martin and perused my own goals. This year has been an amazing, but challenging year and after 4 years of planning, meeting people and researching I have literally just opened a ‘Winkworth’ office in Surbiton in the UK.

I can only say the things I have learnt is trust in yourself, believe in yourself, don’t always listen to what people tell you. If you have a feeling deep down run with it, go for your dreams. Treat people with kindness and love yourself. Today I am lucky to say I have two healthy boys, a loving husband, two dogs and two rabbits. I have lost 14kg and still going, and I could not be happier, however I have done this. My moto is where ever you are there you are. You are the only one that can control your destiny!